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DULUTH - Local leaders respond to Governor Mark Dayton’s budget and is a good place to start. “This is just the beginning so the budget we heard about today, is likely, not going to be the budget we’re going to see in a few months. And it’s up to us to make sure it’s a budget we can live with and be proud of,” Jim Soderberg, Churches United in Ministry, said.
State and local leaders gathered for a Community Conversation on the State Budget at the Coppertop Church today and state officials said they think the governor’s proposed budget is a step in the right direction.
“We think this will balance and stabilize revenues. Frankly the reason we have a surplus in 2016 and 2017, under the governor’s proposed budget is we’re generating more sales tax revenue in the future that would allow us to pay back the school shift of $1.1. billion,” Myron Frans, Minnesota Revenue Commissioner, said.
Paying back the school shift and investing in education and healthcare was at the top of the priority list for many local leaders and they were happy with the governor’s decision to expand eligibility for Medicaid.
“Basic needs include basic healthcare and from what I’ve seen thus far of the proposed budget coming from the governor’s office.
There are some good things in there about expanding accessibility to healthcare,” Pastor Bard, of the First United Methodist Church, said.
However, there were still parts of the proposed budgets that community members thought could be improved.
“Public assistance, welfare, AFDC, whatever you think of it as, that amount has not gone up since 1986, by a dime,” Angie Miller, Community Action Duluth, said.
As the discussion continues over the next few months, people were hopeful that the new budget could move Minnesota towards ending the cycle of deficits it has seen in the last decade.
“So, we’re not done with cutting, but it is sustainable and it is balanced. And it gives us hope,” Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL Hermantown, said.